How to overcome imposter syndrome

How to overcome imposter syndrome

High achieving, highly successful people often suffer from imposter syndrome, so it doesn’t equate with low self-esteem or a lack of self-confidence. In fact, some researchers have linked it with perfectionism, especially in women and among academics.

So what can you do to mitigate the negative effects of Imposter syndrome?

  • Recognise imposter feelings when they emerge. Awareness is the first step to change, so ensure you track these thoughts: what they are and when they emerge.
    1. Rewrite your mental programmes. Instead of telling yourself they are going to find you out or that you don’t deserve success, remind yourself that it’s normal not to know everything and that you will find out more as you progress.
    2. Talk about your feelings. There may be others who feel like imposters too – it’s better to have an open dialogue rather than harbour negative thoughts alone.
    3. Consider the context. Most people will have experienced moments or occasions where they don’t feel 100% confident. There may be times when you feel out of your depth and self-doubt can be a normal reaction. If you catch yourself thinking that you are useless, reframe it: “the fact that I feel useless right now does not mean that I really am.”
    4. Reframe failure as a learning opportunity. Find out the lessons and use them constructively in future. This is a critical lesson for everyone.
    5. Be kind to yourself. Remember that you are entitled to make small mistakes occasionally and forgive yourself. Don’t forget to reward yourself for getting the big things right.
    6. Seek support. Everyone needs help: recognise that you can seek assistance and that you don’t have to do everything alone. This will give you a good reality check and help you talk things through.
    7. Visualise your success. Keep your eye on the outcome – completing the task or making the presentation, which will keep you focused and calm.